Unfortunately this unique habitat is the latest victim of government budget cuts.
Fabien Cousteau paid a visit to Sylvia Earle and the underwater base in danger of losing its funding, and says that the work they’re doing there must be allowed to continue.
Not long ago, the general consensus was that our planet was flat. Sailing to the horizon would bring certain doom to unwary sailors who feared falling off its edge into oblivion. Lucky for us, some brave adventurers tested pioneering scientific theories of the day and risked their lives to challenge this notion: They sailed to the edge and beyond. It is this spirit of exploration and pushing our boundaries of knowledge that allows us to learn about this “oasis in space” and how we fit within its web of life.
Outer space has always fascinated people. Maybe it’s the mystery of the unknown, or perhaps it’s the possibility that we are not the only planet with life. Whatever the case, our curiosity affords us the luxury of accumulating valuable knowledge. This same curiosity is what drove my grandfather, Jacques-Yves Cousteau, to explore our inner space and pioneer the first undersea habitats exactly 50 years ago. Starting with Conshelf 1 (and later Conshelf 2 and Conshelf 3), he and his team of ocean explorers spent up to three weeks down under and working at depths of over 400 feet. The purpose was to see if humans could live underwater, and to perform scientific studies impossible by any other means. Since 1962, there have been a dozen or so of these marine research labs.
Today, residing 60 feet beneath the surface and eight miles off the shore of Key Largo, the Aquarius is now the only undersea marine lab in the world. I had the opportunity to dive with and visit Dr. Sylvia Earle and her team of aquanauts on what might be Aquarius’s last mission. Sylvia and I had a chance to chat on board the lab about the fate of the oceans and importance of a sea base such as Aquarius.
via FastCoExist – Fabien Cousteau
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